After a night of reading too much Reddit, I decided that my current sunscreen (Ombrelle Face Cream SPF 60) needed the boot. It was too heavy, too thick, and too greasy. I scoured the internet for recommendations and I found that there was a WHOLE NEW WORLD of sunscreen in Japan and Korea! Instead of greasy lotions that left my skin uncomfortable, I found a new evolution of sunscreen with elegant ingredients.

Goodbye greasy sunscreen lotion, hello Shiseido Senka Q10 BG Mineral Water UV Essence Gel! (What a mouthful!!!)

Product Information:

Unfortunately, there was not much information available in English on the product. Here is what was written from ebay seller animetropolis:

Features:

  1. Add double the maintenance component: “skin repair ingredient-Q10” and “sense of water moisturizing ingredients – hyaluronic acid”, can effectively improve the strength and activity of skin cells regenerate and protect the skin from UV damage, maintain skin firmness.
  1. SPF to strengthen the market’s top specification, SPF50 +. PA + + + +, the effect of sunscreen and then evolve!
  1. Using “100% natural mineral water of Mount Fuji” as a base recipe, then with “cold days gel” newly developed components, to create a sense of essence like a smooth, moist nudge can be extended, close contact with the skin, refreshing transparent, non-sticky, non-white, sunscreen never heavy! It is not only excellent moisturizing effect but also as a cream makeup before use, long-term use are not easy to cause the oil, makeup or desquamation, perfect care for all women makeup!

Although the English is a little broken (the effect of sunscreen and then evolve!!!), I think the general gist is this:

  • SPF 50, PA++++ (PA indicates the ability of the sunscreen to block UVA rays, so ++++ here means it significantly blocks UVA)
  • Ingredients include coenzyme Q10 and hyaluronic acid, plus mineral water from Mt. Fuji
  • Sunscreen has light creamy texture that doesn’t feel heavy
  • Acts as a makeup base 
Shiseido Senka Q10 BG Mineral Water UV Essence Gel

The back of the tube.

Ingredients:

It was difficult to find an ingredient list for this sunscreen in English. I finally found a translation on Rakuten Global Market from seller Master of Life.

Water, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, silica, cyclomethicone, ethanol, glycerin, DPG, BG, sebacic acid diisopropyl, polysilicone-15, capriglirmechicon, octocrylene, bisecorhexiloxyphenolmetoxiphenyltriazine, polybutylene g recall /PPG-9/1 copolymer, diethylaminohydroxybenzoil benzoic acid Hexyl, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, xanthan gum, Coenzyme Q10, hyaluronic acid, Chloride Mg, chloride Ca, Behnaz-20, PEG-10 Dimethicone, agar, copolymer (acrylic acid and acrylic acid alkyl (C10-30)), potassium hydroxide, carbomer, BHT, tocopherol, phenoxyethanol

Although I think some of the ingredients may be lost in the translation (polybutylene g recall, anyone?), I think it gives a basic idea of what the ingredients are.

After running the list through google, the UV filters in this sunscreen are as follows:

  • ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate AKA octinoxate
  • octocrylene
  • bisecorhexiloxyphenolmetoxiphenyltriazine AKA Tinosorb S
  • diethylaminohydroxybenzoil benzoic acid Hexyl AKA Uvinul A Plus
  • butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane AKA Avobenzone

 I used this handy dandy UV filter chart from Skinacea to assess their UVA-UVB protection:

UV Filter Chemical Or Physical Sunscreen UVA Protection UVB Protection
Octinoxate Chemical +
Octocrylene Chemical + +
Tinosorb S Chemical + +
Uvinul A Plus Chemical +
Avobenzone Chemical +

As you can see, between all of the filters there is broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection.

This sunscreen also contains coenzyme Q10 and hyaluronic acid.

Ingredient Highlights

Coenzyme Q10

Also called ubiquinone, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is found in the lipid portion of the cell membrane. It takes part in numerous biologic processes, including energy production. CoQ10 is a potent antioxidant that scavenges free radicals that may contribute to the signs of aging. In addition it acts synergistically with a number of other antioxidants, including vitamin E. It also has been shown to decrease the activity of the enzyme collagenase (that breaks down collagen), as well as prevent UVA radiation damage.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is a humectant found in the dermis, especially where the dermis is less dense, and is produced by an enzyme in the plasma membrane of cells. It has multiple functions, including cell growth and signaling, membrane receptor function, cellular adhesion, wound repair and regeneration, and shock absorption.

Hyaluronic acid binds over 1000 times its weight in water, and as such it is one of the molecules responsible for giving the skin its plumpness and volume. Typically, hyaluronic acid pulls water from the atmosphere.  However, if used in a dry environment, is can draw water from deeper in the skin, causing dehydration. Therefore, dry skin types must be cautious when using hyaluronic acid, and if in a dry climate must make sure to use an occlusive in addition.  Interestingly, oily skin types have enough sebum and oil occlusives so that water is not drawn from the skin if used in a dry climate.

Topical use of hyaluronic acid is dependent on several factors, including skin penetration. Penetration of this molecule is dependent on size, with larger forms of hyaluronic acid sitting on the surface of the skin with little effect. When smaller forms are used, the molecule penetrates into the epidermis forming reservoirs and temporarily plumping the skin. 

Shiseido Senka Q10 BG Mineral Water UV Essence Gel

A big blob of sunscreen on the back of my hand.

Shiseido Senka Q10 BG Mineral Water UV Essence Gel

Said blob of sunscreen spread around.

Assessment:

This sunscreen came in a simple yellow squeeze tube. It’s hygienic and practical but a little simplistic. The sunscreen itself is a thick white cream with a light chemical smell.  For some reason, it vaguely reminded me of butter.  I applied approximately ¼ of a teaspoon to my face in the morning before leaving for work.  Although thick, it glided across my skin smoothly. It initially made my skin appear dewy (borderline greasy), but within 15 minutes it was fully absorbed with no white cast in sight.  It wore fine under makeup.

Shiseido Senka Q10 BG Mineral Water UV Essence Gel

After 15 minutes the sunscreen was totally absorbed.

The million dollar question, though, is did it work?  The answer is a resounding YES.  I wore this on my face for the month of September and did not notice any significant tanning of my face.  In addition, it gave my dry skin a nice moisture boost.

I did not have any skin reaction while using this product.

Conclusion:

I loved this sunscreen. Compared to my previous sunscreen, it’s lighter, smells nicer, absorbs faster, and leaves no white cast. Plus, its UV filters make it broad spectrum against both UVA and UVB rays.  Score!

Repurchase? Hecks yes!

TL;DR:

  • Broad spectrum UVA-UVB protection
  • Thick, but non greasy
  • Dewy finish, wears well under makeup
  • No white cast
  • Recommended to buy

Score: 5/5

Where to buy: ebay seller alphabeautyuk

 

References:

Baumann, L. (2009). Cosmetic Dermatology: Principles and Practice (2nd ed.). United States: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing.

Baumann, L. (2014). Cosmeceuticals and cosmetic ingredients. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional.

Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary A – Z: Cosmetics Cop Expert Advice. (n.d.). Retrieved 28 February 2015, from http://www.paulaschoice.com/cosmetic-ingredient-dictionary/

Michalun, M. V., & Dinardo, J. C. (2015). Milady Skin Care and Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary (4th ed.). Clifton Park, NY, USA: Cengage Learning.

Winter, R. (2009). A consumer’s dictionary of cosmetic ingredients: complete information about the harmful and desirable ingredients found in cosmetics and cosmeceuticals. United States: Three Rivers Press.

 

Edited November 19, 2015 for formatting and removal of a gif that wasn’t working